Dinner, Food, Lunch, Recipes, Vegetables

Skillet Butternut Squash and Greens

Here’s a fast, easy and delicious side dish to try with your dinner tonight!

butternut squash side dish

Skillet Butternut Squash and Greens

1 lb bacon, diced

1 medium sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed

1 bunch chard, diced

1 zucchini, diced

Drizzle of olive oil

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Using a potato peeler, peel the butternut squash, remove the seeds and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in a large pan and cover with water.  Boil for 5-7 minutes or until the squash is tender but not mushy.  While the squash is boiling, cook the diced bacon in a large skillet until browned.  Drain the butternut squash and add to the cooked diced bacon along with the chard and zucchini.  Saute for another couple of minutes until the chard is wilted.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar and serve.


Sarah Fragoso

Sarah Fragoso is an international best selling author of 6 books, co-owner of the Chico, CA based gym JS Strength and Conditioning, and founder of the Everyday Paleo franchise. Sarah is the co-host of the popular Sarah and Dr. Brooke Show podcast and she also conducts workshops and retreats on the subjects of nutrition, lifestyle and fitness.

Her message is from the heart and she carries a genuine desire to help other families looking for guidance. These attributes have contributed to her successes and provide the drive to keep the discoveries coming.

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  1. Sarah,

    As always, this looks delicious! What do you think of subbing in spinach for the chard ? (I have the former, not the latter 🙂

    Btw, made your Mulligatawny soup last night. The kids and wife raved about it!

    Thanks so much for sharing your kitchen treasures with us 🙂


    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Paul! I think ANY sort of greens would be great with this dish, spinach, kale, or whatever!! : ) And, thank you for your kind comment!

  2. Debbie S says:

    OMG you don’t quit do you?? I am so glad you don’t because I wouldn’t have clue what to make for dinner LOL….love you

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Debbie!! : )

  3. Could you microwave or steam the butternut squash instead of boiling? I’m just not wanting to pour some of the nutrients down the drain…. Thanks! And I LOVE your blog & podcasts. Keep up the great work!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi JT, I have never tried to steam butternut squash before, but if you have and it works, than go for it! You only boil it for a few minutes so it’s not totally cooked to nothingness so I didn’t really feel like I boiled all the nutrients away, especially since butternut squash is pretty dense stuff. You could bake it or pressure cook it as well! : )

    2. doesn’t it seem a little ironic to be using a microwave in a paleo diet? my understanding is that microwaving (irradiating) will kill more nutrients than other method

  4. Kristi says:

    Cant wait to try it. Im all about bacon now that i know it wont make me fat or give me a heart attack:) Thanks for the easy recipes!

  5. Steve says:

    Perfect timing! I have a butternut squash that has been on my counter for a week and I was going to make it this weekend.

    1. Sarah says:

      Awesome Steve!

  6. Quint says:

    YUM! Made this tonight for dinner using spinach and it tasted great. I also added in some sliced almonds and a little shredded coconut for some extra crunch.

    Thanks for the great recipes!

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Quint! YUM love the idea of the shredded coconut, thanks!

  7. Thanks, Sarah! I’ve previously only made butternut squash for my children when I introduced it to them as baby food. (The LOVED it!) I’m looking forward to trying this recipe with them, although they aren’t too into the “green stuff” right now.

    I also wanted to let you know how inspiring you are and how excited you have made me to begin my Paleo journey. My husband talked me into it (he’s a Crossfit/Robb Wolf junkie) and now I’m thinking of converting my kids. I’m right where you were when you first started: mother of 3 with my youngest at 3 mo. right now. It’s nice to know what an amazing success we can all attain! =) Thanks again for all you do! We love it!!!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you so much JT!! : )

  8. Hello, I am making the switch to paleo but am having problems with my daughter. She is 2 1/2 and loves her sweets and carbs. I started right with breastfeeding but then everything went south especially when I left my husband, convenience food is just too easy. How can I make the switch with her and not have a total meltdown at every meal?

  9. debbie seward says:

    Dawn what I did with my kids…I started slow and began dialogue with them about good food vs. bad food. they are never too young to start talking to them about important issues. Then maybe introduce healthier choices for snacks. Nothing is more convenient than a banana for a snack instead of a package of cookies….start one meal at a time and the kids will get there:) Good Luck don’t give up…

  10. Yum! Made this last night w/ pan seared balsalmic chicken. Used the bag of frozen chopped kale that we had and subbed out the zucchini for mushrooms & onions and cooked them with the bacon before adding the squash.

    Happy to add this to my list of skillets. I make a lot of “skillets” aka everything in one pan. Our bags of frozen kale, chard, collard greens & spinach are go-to’s at our house 🙂

    Thank you!

    1. Sarah says:

      Jaime, sounds amazing!! Thank you!

  11. This is a beautiful recipe. I often do something similar with grass fed ground beef and the remaining ingredients sans the balsamic. Will have to try it!

    Thank you for all of your beautiful recipes!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thanks Misty!

  12. Katfood says:

    What kind of bacon do you use? As I am new to Paleo, I am always confused to buy sausage and/or bacon because sometimes they have added ingredients like sugar. I usually shop at Whole Foods. Can you make some suggestions? Also, does the balsamic stand up to Paleo standards? It seems like it might have sugars in it, too. I am confused about how strict one needs to stick to Paleo to feel/see results. Thanks for your help and clarification.

    1. Hi Katfood – : ) Your handle made me smile….. I buy my bacon from Trader Joe’s or from my friend who has a pig farm and when she slaughters a pig I try to “get in” on the share. I know there is usually some sugar in bacon, but it’s such a small amount that I don’t worry about it. As far as the balsamic goes, again, that’s up to you. If you are drowning all of your food in balsamic, maybe not such a great thing, but if you use a splash here and there and feel ok doing that, than by all means go for it! I personally love balsamic and use it now and then. : )

  13. Listener 7 says:

    Butternut Squash is awesome. Does seem on the higher end of the low end of the carb scale. I microwave it for about 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the squash (I have a pretty low power microwave), let it cool then scoop out the meat.

    1. I love that you are Listener 7…. : )

  14. Michelle says:

    What kind of cookware do you use? I need to get away from this calfalon non stick as I’m pretty sure it’s tephlon…

    1. Dan V says:

      I used to use Calfalon. I want to get into the titanium stuff. Have you ever heard of these guys? http://www.titanium-cookware.com

      I’m thinking of getting a set but can’t find any reviews.

      1. I haven’t heard of this stuff! I pretty much exclusively use cast iron at this point and LOVE it. It’s cheap, super healthy to cook in and lasts forever. I use my stainless steel for cooking anything acidic like tomato sauce. 🙂

  15. Perfect use for the kale I just bought… I’m really bad at cooking kale and chard. Not used to them yet. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I skillet cook kale all the time now using a bit of pancetta (usually one thickly cut round, diced up) or bacon, 1 large minced shallot, 2 cloves of garlic. It’s AMAZING – my husband and I literally can’t stop eating it!

      1. Sarah says:

        YUM Kel, sounds awesome!! : )

  16. Ashley says:

    I found a package of pre-diced butternut squash at the store right after I saw this recipe. 🙂 Kale was the only acceptable looking green at my store today, so that will be paired up with our Day One Paleo dinner tomorrow night! 🙂

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Ashley! Way to go and good luck with dinner #1! Let me know how it goes!

  17. I finally made this tonight! (And boiled the butternut squash as you recommended.) This was my first go at cooking chard. I bought the rainbow one since that was at our local market. I didn’t have bacon (since all the nitrate free ones have sugar in it), so I used kalua pig instead. I’m from Hawaii, so we have lots of this around. =) It’s basically slow cooked pork and traditionally, it’s cooked in the ground, but I doubt mine was! =) In any case, it turned out GREAT!!! And amazingly, my picky eater kids ate it too! A proud paleo moment for this mama. Can’t wait to try more of your great recipes! Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      HI JT! Oh my goodness, the kalua pig in this dish sounds amazing!! If I come to Hawaii, can I come over and you can make this for ME???? : )

  18. Yes, Sarah, I would be honored to cook this for you! I’ve posted a picture on my blog page and noted what I changed in the recipe. 🙂 I think that if I put in a lot more kalua pig then that could make it a one dish meal.

  19. Yvette says:

    Question about chard. I bought a fresh bunch so it came tied together with very long white stems. Do I peel the greens off the stems and toss the stems (similar to kale) ?

    1. Sarah says:

      Hi Yvette, Yes, remove the greens from the stem! : )

  20. Amanda says:

    From referral of a few friends and some crossfitters I have just started my paleo journey! I love this recipe, tried it last night but used asparagus instead of the greens. SOOO good 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing your recipes. Your blog is awesome!

  21. Looks great!

  22. Ashley says:

    I made the chili Verde last night (ahhhhhhh-ma-zing!) and this recipe paired with almond crusted flounder. My 5 year old did better than my husband with it; he is afraid of greens but gave it a try. I thought the sweet and savory squash and Bacon pairing was excellent…

  23. Samantha Day says:

    This was a big hit, so colorful and very tasty. I paired it with a roast cooked in a crockpot all day. My husband says this was the best meal so far. Thank you so much for your delicious recipes. You have a knack for combining foods that I would never have thought of.

  24. Carrie says:

    Ha! My husband ate squash and didn’t even know it! I added some sliced chicken sausage to make it a one skillet meal and used spinach for the greens. He took one bite and said, “omg, this is incredible!”
    Thank you for all that you do!

    1. Sarah says:

      AWESOME Carrie!! I love it… : )

  25. Elizabeth says:

    Oh my Gosh! I made this tonight with roasted chicken. It was freaking amazing! I used Kale instead of swiss chard and totally forgot to buy zucchini while at the store today so I didn’t use that, and I only used about half the bacon, but it was so, so, so, so good!! Thanks a lot for the recipe!

    1. Sarah says:

      So glad you liked it Elizabeth, one of my favorites too…. : )

  26. This recipe was legit! We added a roasted chicken (deboned) and made a meal out of it. We also subbed spinach. We’re doing it again tonight and may try the chard this time. Thanks for all the recipes Sarah.

    1. Sounds so good Trey with that roasted chicken added, yum!!

  27. KayDee says:

    Yum!! I’m a new Paleo follower, and this incorporates everything I love! Bacon, squash, greens . . . I want to eat it as a main course!!!!

    1. Sara says:

      Is it bad that I DO eat it for a main course?? YUMMO!

  28. Jenstar27@gmail.com says:

    Throw in some red bell peppers and this dish is will pop with many colors. Very delicious and appealing to eat.

    1. Great idea with the bell peppers, thank you!

  29. Jaime says:

    I just tried this delicious recipie with my 17 month old twins and I. I left out the olive oil and vinegar thinking my little ones wouldn’t like it. We all loved this recipie! Even my son who generally despises leafy grean anything ate the Swiss chard! Thanks for this and your website is amazing!

    1. Sarah says:

      Thank you Jaime! So glad your little ones liked it!

  30. I’m sharing this recipe with a client today who wants more ideas of how to cook greens! 🙂

  31. Laura says:

    I could possibly need a butternut squash intervention…

  32. Laura McG says:

    Sarah, if I buy the already cut up butternut squash, would I need to roast it first? How long? Thanks!

  33. Allison says:

    Hey Sarah,

    I love this recipe and make it regularly, however I have an excess of chard this week. I work for a bakery selling their bread at farmers markets and since I don’t eat any of it, I get to trade the leftovers for veggies from the other vendors at the end of the day. Anyways, I decided that I’d have a salad today for lunch, and I’ve now come down with an awfully sore throat and can barely talk! I did a bit of googling and found a bit of information about oxalic acid. What do you know about the side effects of this stuff? I figure next time I’ll mix my greens all up so that it’s not all chard or just leave this stuff for cooked dishes. Thoughts?

  34. Elizabeth says:

    I made this last night. I really loved it. I think I will try to find a way to cut down on the prep time. I don’t think my peeler was very sharp, so it took a while to peel the squash. And it was NOT easy to cut my squash into the cubes before boiling. I think next time I might cut it in half and microwave it a bit to soften it up. Thanks for this one!

  35. Made this tonight and both the boyfriend and I loved it! Actually he ended up cooking 80% of it, I did mostly butternut squash prep, it takes so long! We didn’t add olive oil or balsamic at the end but we did add some spicy pulled pork from our grocery store’s hot foods bar. The spice was really nice.

  36. Terri says:

    I made this tonight with kale & it was absolutely FaBulOUs!!!! I am new to paleo & I love that I can eat bacon & not feel guilty about it!!

  37. Hi! I LOVE your website and recipes! I am working on making this dish and was wondering about the bacon grease… Do you drain it off? Or do you keep the grease and cook everything in it?Thanks!

    1. Sarah says:

      I keep the grease and cook everything in it. : )

  38. Thanks Sarah! I did end up draining most of the grease, next time I won’t drain. My husband and I both LOVED dish, especially in day two. I paired it with the vegetable meatballs!

  39. Jenny says:

    Oh wow, this is my dinner and I am currently scarfing it down! I used kale and it turned out great!

  40. Jenny says:

    Oh WOW! I made this as my dinner and I am currently scarfing it down! It is great! I used kale and no zucchini

  41. I was inspired by this but I wanted to make it into a full dinner so I changed it up a bit and it was incredible. I love the spinach and the butternut squash, they go so well together!

  42. NewPaleoBrit says:

    I made this tonight for my husband and I tonight. It was our second Paleo day! We loved it, we had it with the pecan chicken the features in your book. I would never have put all this together, yet crazily it works.

    The bacon I swapped out for English Nitrate free back bacon which you can get from Fresh and Easy. As an English girl I still can’t eat American bacon!!

  43. Amanda says:

    I made this tonight without as much bacon (was running low), but it was still amazingly yummy! I was not sure how I was going to like the chard, but it was so good! I paired it with the Buttered Herb Chicken, which I roasted instead of grilled. That was a win too! Love the recipes!

  44. Kelly says:

    Sarah –
    This was amazing!! I read a few of the comments before making this just to see what people were thinking. I sub the chard with asparagus and man o man was it great! My fiance, went for seconds and asked to take the left overs for lunch. Thank you for making me love butternut squash.

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